Paris Day 2
I woke up to rain. Checked the weather and it was supposed to be raining nonstop till 5pm.
What can you do though? I wasn’t going to let this stop me from experiencing the city and so I just made sure to dress warmly.
My hostel’s breakfast consisted of half a baguette, a few options of cereal, a croissant, a yogurt, and tea, coffee, or hot chocolate. While it obviously wasn’t a five star breakfast, it was nice to have something before setting out. It also meant I didn’t have to worry about paying for a meal.
Previous Tip Reiterated: Buy the Carte Mobilis metro pass if you’re not going to be walking everywhere. It’s cheaper than the one day visitor pass that tourists typically buy, yet they’re nearly identical. Check out my previous post where I talk a little more in depth about it.
My first stop for the day was the Louvre. It opened at 9am and I got there around 9:30. I would highly advise getting there early because there was already a bit of a line. As I was leaving around 11/11:30, the line had become massive though. This way you can enter through the infamous glass pyramid and not have to worry about suffering outside.
You might also want to buy your tickets in advance. You’ll be able to skip the longer line and get inside much more quickly.
However if you’re a student, you can get in for free! They directed me to the line with all the other people who hadn’t purchased tickets yet though, so I still had to wait in line. I used my University of Edinburgh student card and they requested a form of ID giving my age as well. Somebody told me you have to be under 26 to be able to use the free student entry. Otherwise, tickets are fifteen euros.
I suggest going shortly after opening because it’ll also be quieter. I always feel as if I get a more intimate experience this way and gain my own understanding of the art. It was incredible walking in this room full of marble statues and it being completely empty.
It’s a beautiful palace and you can see Napoleon III’s apartment which was so elaborate and ornate. (I had to google it, Napoleon III is not Napoleon Bonaparte! He was his nephew.) I certainly would not mind living here. There’s certain parts that feel more like the palace instead of a museum and that’s when I could feel history the most. I imagined bustling servants working to fill the huge dining table and serve the important guests. I tried to force myself to realize that I was walking where historical figures have walked, but it’s a difficult concept to grasp.
My favorite areas were the Ancient Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt sections. I’ve realized that paintings don’t affect me as much. Artifacts that saw history from so long ago is what really fascinates me. I didn’t take as many pictures as I should have so you’ll just have to go yourself!
The museum is HUGE. I definitely did not see everything. There were even some rooms closed when I was there! I also really struggled in finding the Mona Lisa. By the time I got to that area, I was worn out by the art. This was a little disappointing because when I got to the Mona Lisa area there were so many more rooms of paintings, but I didn’t have as much time to spend there.
Did you know she was stolen from the Louvre once? It was stolen in 1911 and you should read about the man who stole it here. Some people believe that the painting on display now in the Louvre is a copy. There’s conspiracy theories saying that they never actually got the original back or that the original is held securely by the Louvre somewhere else.
After the Mona Lisa, I eventually found my way out of this massive museum. It wasn’t easy to do and took me an extra twenty minutes honestly.
Next I was going to do the Grand Palais, but it was another museum and after the Louvre I really wasn’t up to another one.
So I extended my walk to head to the Eiffel Tower instead. I probably should have taken the metro because that walk ended up being over two miles in the rain, but I didn’t think it all the way through.
On a nice day, I wouldn’t have minded the walk at all. Even with the rain I could tell how beautiful Paris was, but it’s hard to fully appreciate it when you’re drenched and the cold is starting to get to you.
It was an odd feeling when I spotted the Eiffel Tower for the first time. Seeing it between buildings and off in the distance was so weird to me. It’s a normal sight for the Parisians, but it’s such an iconic sight for us. It was really cool, but it was also just so odd. I can’t put it into words. I think the city felt too normal to me and then seeing something that’s so famous put me off a bit.
I had gotten hungry by the time I was close to the Eiffel Tower so I decided to stop for some lunch. I got a chocolat chaud to warm myself up and they gave me a mug full of hot and frothed milk and chocolate powder to mix in myself. It was great, but different!
I’d also noticed at this point that the cafes and restaurants were kind of expensive. I got a soup for seven euros since everything else was over ten. In Edinburgh I can get a bowl of soup for four pounds!
Tip: If weather allows it, buy food to picnic with. The weather made it impossible for me, but this enables you to have a cheaper meal. If you have good weather, it would be amazing.
After lunch I stopped at a patisserie to get some of these chocolate things I spied through the window.
It’s called Aux Marveilleux de Fred and was delicious! Near the Eiffel Tower if you want a little treat!
Finally made it to the Eiffel Tower! You can go to the top if you want, but I suggest going to the top of Notre Dame. It’s much cheaper and you can get a view of Paris with the Eiffel Tower in the background! I was unfortunately unable to do so because it was a forty minute wait and it was raining and foggy. I was really unwilling to wait outside in the cold and I didn’t think I’d get a great view anyways. Hopefully you can have better weather though!
I saw a few armed police near the Eiffel Tower. When my sister visited Paris she was stopped and had her bag searched twice, but I had no issues.
Next up was Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Élysées!
I took the metro because it was still raining and Champs-Élysées is kind of far from the Eiffel Tower.
Tip: Download the Paris Metro app and it’ll make your life so much easier!
While you can climb the Arc de Triomphe, I didn’t do so. You have to pay for this one as well. I hate to say that it easily becomes just a place to take a quick photo of and then move on. It’s not one of the easier sites to interact with.
But you can move on to Champs-Élysées, Paris’s famous shopping street. It’s filled with stores that I can’t afford, but I did get some delicious macaroons!
Laduree is supposed to have some of the best macaroons in Paris and if you don’t manage to visit them on Champs-Élysées, they also have a store in Orly airport I know. I’m unsure about Charles de Gaulle. They are a little overpriced I will say, but I was on the hunt for some good macaroons and was willing to pay.
I loved how on Champs-Élysées the most elaborate store entrance that I saw was for Abercrombie:
I also saw this sticker on a bench that I loved:
I eventually made my way back to my hostel to rest my weary feet until dinner.
I really wanted to see the Eiffel Tower lit up at night though so after sunset I had to make my way back in that direction.
It was really pretty I will say.
Dinner was a quiet affair that night and close to my hostel. It was in a great area and I found a nice restaurant to people watch.
I had another early night as I’d walked eleven miles that day and was ready for a rest. The next day was to be my last in Paris!
PS A great cheese store I saw near my hostel: